Razored Saddles

I’m continuing the weird western series.

Raw Feed (1991): Razored Saddles, eds. Joe R. Lansdale and Pat LoBrutto, 1989.Razored Saddles

Thirteen Days of Glory”, Scott A. Cupp — This tale of what the defenders of the Alamo were really like — homosexuals trying to set up an independent homeland in Texas — wasn’t shocking ( and I’m not sure it was supposed to be), but it was kind of funny — particularly the image of the Alamo defenders dressed in women’s clothing, made-up faces, and jewelry taunting their Catholic opponents. There’s a bit of historical inaccuracy in the admittedly figurative reference to the Inquisition. It was suppressed in 1834, two years before the Alamo.

Gold”, Lewis Shine — Protagonist Malone wants Lafitte’s pirate treasure to compensate for his poor youth, to provide independence from his wife’s fortune, and to realize his political goals. Malone realizes that gold has a life of its own apart from its owner. He finds himself adopting beliefs alien to him simply to further his ultimately futile political goals. Shiner is reiterating common beliefs in art: that money can’t buy happiness, that the compromises a good, ambitious man must make to gain power corrupt him, that power and money seek to perpetuate themselves and have a will of their own. They are often true but not necessarily so. But to have things turn our well for Malone would not be as dramatic. The story is, in a sense, a coming of age tale as Malone learns the lessons of life that Lafitte already knew.

Sedalia”, David J. Schow — This was an ok story of dinosaur ghosts (and then real dinosaurs) returning to the world in our time. The major attraction of this story was the scenes of dinosaur mayhem and Schow’s clever style and western dialect. The dinosaur roundup wasn’t that interesting. Continue reading

The Gods of H. P. Lovecraft

Review: The Gods of H. P. Lovecraft, ed. Aaron J. French, 2015.The Gods of HP Lovecraft

There are a lot of different tones and registers you can chose when picking the voices for a collection of Cthulhu Mythos stories.

But, if you’re going to pull off the promise inherent in the title The Gods of H. P. Lovecraft, that tone better be one of mystery, awe, reverence, and a de-privileging of human values and concerns.

Largely it does.

First off, it has 12 nice black and white illustrations, one for each god, done by Paul Carrick, Steve Santiago, and John Coulthart, so you might want to pick up the print edition rather than e-book. Even more singular are Donald Tyson’s pieces on each god. Together, they read like a primer you’d find in the pocket of a new acolyte in one of those dark cults of Lovecraft.

The stories …

Well, the stories mostly work in providing the promised tone and affect.

There are a couple that go astray because they are entries in series that shoehorned Lovecraft into their plots.

One is Martha Wells’ “The Dark Gates” which has Yog-Sothoth showing up in a story of detection in her Ile-Rein series. The other is from Jonathan Maberry. “Dream a Little Dream of Me”, a Sam Hunter story. He’s a vulgar, tough talking, werewolf private eye turned lose in an overstuffed narrative with an Etruscan god, the Thule Society (beloved by occult-minded Nazis), and Lovecraft’s nightgaunts. There’s a whole lot more comedic mashup than mystery, real danger, or grandeur, dark or otherwise.

There’s a couple of other stories with odd tones that still carry off the title premise. Continue reading